Does travel play in the writing of your books?
Absolutely! I was born in Africa but have lived in the United States of America for over 30 years. A little over six years ago, my father called me up and told me it was time to return home. I’d literally grown up in the US and this was home to me. Though father lived in the US too, he felt it was time to give back to Africa.
This was an important trip for me as I’d not been back for over 23 years! The trip was equally important because one of my cousins was being crowned a king in one of the provinces and my father felt it was a great opportunity to reconnect with my roots.
The journey was exhilarating yet filled with anxiety as I did not know what I was going to encounter. I trusted my father, packed my bags and went back to West Africa with my family. It was the most incredible journey of my life… to witness a King’s coronation… no words could describe the feelings. What was more important was the surprise which awaited me! The community people rallied around me and reminded me of who I was… their princess who had been gone for long and was now back! I took the time to revisit my childhood boarding school and low and behold, all of my experiences at the school came rushing back.
The characters that readers will encounter in the Adventures of Jewel Cardwell are a culmination of my childhood friends as well as “the conjured friends in my head.” These characters have consistently plagued my dream and haunted my mind into bringing them alive. Every year I would return to Africa (with my American Friends) serving the children in the communities through my non-profit organization the Adassa Foundation, I am reminded of the colorful ambiance and the need to share this part of the world with book lovers.
As I began to paint this African adventure on paper, my sons, 17 and 15 ( now 22 and 19) nudged me with their support and their instant enjoyment of the plot. Every time I would complete a chapter, they wanted more. They wanted to see what would happen to the characters. More importantly, they were intrigued by the description of the African setting, the culture of the people revealed through the different characters and the blended families relayed by the characters. Different characters elicited different emotions as they read alongside other young adults reviewing the story.
While there has been some popular fantasy books like Harry Potter, Amanda Hockings Trylle series and Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series, with settings in Europe and America, there has not been one to present the other part of the world. The characters urge me to fill this gap!
I wanted my readers to be transported to a place where they’d never been before. I wanted them to see how other people live in other parts of the world… I wanted them to also see how people like them, who have travelled to live in Africa… how they adjust to the culture and setting. The characters though reside in Africa come from various parts of the world especially Europe. My sons were very helpful in painting vivid imagery of “the characters in my head.” Bola, my oldest son was inspired to travel across the ocean… and he made renditions of scenes directly from the book: www.worldoffumihancock.com. He alongside his younger brother composed and arranged the trailer songs.
Tell us about your current release.
A unique & thrilling African ambiance not familiar to many! Lying gracefully between the Vaal River in the north and the Orange River in the south, the rolling grassland and fields of crops rising to a lovely sandstone mountain, is Milner Court, Bloemfontein, a suburb nestled in the middle of Free State, South Africa.
The Adventures of Jewel Cardwell: Hydra’s Nest magically transports its readers from the rolling hills of Bloemfontein to the beautiful farmlands of Bela-bela South Africa. It is a fantasy-based coming of age story of a rebellious 17 year old teenager who (through no fault of her own) is thrust into an environment ridden with unfamiliar and unsavory demonic activities when admitted into a prep school in South Africa.
As Jewel Cardwell is relentlessly being trailed by an unapologetic family curse, she races against time to find answers before the curse wipes out all of her loved ones.
In the midst of this demonic war, she becomes entangled in a love triangle between a young rugged-looking Darwin Morton who she grew up with on Milner Court and the very wealthy and popular high school soccer team leader with the silver spoon in his mouth, Eric Broder.
I am currently finishing up the second in the Grimmlyn Series: The Sorcerer’s Purgatory. The cover reveal can be seen here: http://www.worldoffumihancock.com/#the_sequel/crpz.
When in the day/night do you write? How long per day?
Revising and editing the book can be so gruesome because by that time, I would have read the book probably over three times and now overly saturated! However, it is a necessary evil which can’t be avoided.
Wow! This is a pretty loaded question. Arhh… yes! My trips to Africa truly inspired me to dig further into using it as the setting for my book. Other popular fantasy books like the twilight and Amanda Hocking’s Tryll series have used the US; Harry Potter used certain parts of Europe. I wanted to bring something even more spectacular and unique. So my research always begins with the location… then I begin to read history books on that area. In this case, I was fortunate to travel to Africa several times within the span of writing the book.
Though many of my characters are not true-bred Africans; The Adventures of Jewel Cardwell: Hydra’s Nest truly explored the dynamics in their lifestyles. It also exposes the way they mingle or co-exist with each other.
In addition, I had to do a lot of research on South Africa as well as other parts of Africa. I pulled from my pool of experiences while born and raised in West Africa. All of these provided the framework for my FANTASY novel. I guess as my readers know more about me; they will probably figure that out. I leave that question up for their imagination.
What does your significant other and family think of your writing career?
My family has been very supportive of my writing and they and love it too. I believe my parents were the first to get the inclination that I could write stories and write them vividly. From get go, they had encouraged me to start publishing my stories. Needless to say, they were the first to purchase The Adventures of Jewel Cardwell: Hydra’s Nest (http://www.amazon.com/Fumi-Hancock/e/B009BHBI6S) and even had their friends order copies too. My sons and my husband were my first critics as well as editors of my book. I am indeed grateful that they were involved. I am truly blessed and incredibly fortunate.
A little over 4 years ago, I returned back to West Africa- Nigeria to attend the coronation of a family member! Prior to 2008, I had not been back to my community ~Emure Kingdom in 23 years! The trip was incredible in that it re-aligned me back to my roots as an African Princess! My father is a Prince from this West Africa region which made me an African Princess from the Adumori Royal Family.
What books have most influenced your life?
John Maxwell’s “The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader” has been and continues to be a source of empowerment for me as I progress in my writing career as well as the leadership role I take in my non-profit organization. One major quality he mapped out in the book is “The First Impression Can Seal the Deal”. When writing, I am constantly reminded of that. I applied that nugget of wisdom to my first chapter in The Adventures of Jewel Cardwell: Hydra’s Nest.
Do you have any suggestions for beginning writers? If so, what are they?
Let’s start with the craft itself~ Writing must be a passion and not something we simply want to glorify. We must go in knowing exactly what we are anticipating as our outcome. Do we want to write just to share with family or do we want others outside of our circle of influence to get a wind of it? Do we want to make a career out of this? Once you know what your vision and the expectations for your writing are, then set your eyes like a flint and pursue it. It could be a very long and windy journey but you must be focused; never dissuading but more importantly, PRACTICE YOUR CRAFT ON A DAILY BASIS. Thank heavens for the electronic age that’s changing the fate of many authors. Today, authors have been discovered through Amazon. So, there is hope outside of the traditional publishers.
I love all of my bloggers without whom The Adventures of Jewel Cardwell will not be what it is… We need all of you to showcase our work and the marketing process starts with you all.
Who is your favorite author?
What would do, if you found out you were racing against time to save yourself
and your loved ones?
And what would you do, if you suddenly find yourself in the middle of a love
triangle, amidst the unraveling curse?
When free-spirited and more than a little rebellious, seventeen-year-old Jewel Cardwell gained admission to Grayton Preparatory School, a prestigious, girls-only, top-notch private institution nestled in the South African farmlands of Limpopo, little did she know it would begin a trail of mysterious and unfamiliar events, changing her life forever!
At Grayton prep, a battle line is drawn between ‘good and evil’ especially when there’s a full moon and dark forces swirl and turn up in the form of hideous monsters and frightening demons. With her school fr-enemies, rivalry and treachery become the order of the day and Jewel is forced to question everything she thought she knew as she struggles to stay alive in a dubious place riddled with demonic activity!
Armed with a magical secret from her dying grandmother, she sets a new course in motion. In the middle of this whirlwind of events, she is caught between two boys: Darwin Morton, a lad she's known growing up, and Eric Broder, a soccer team leader with a silver spoon in his mouth. Why her love life has to get interesting now is a question she can't answer!
"I welcomed death with open arms, closed my eyes and listened as the aircraft made rattling and shaking sounds through the dreary weather. If this was my time to go, I would embrace darkness, as I had nothing else to lose" -- JEWEL CARDWELL.
Will Jewel be able to solve the mystery before evil is unleashed against those she loves?
Click here to sample or buy (US) : Amazon.com
Click here to sample or buy: (UK): Amazon.com
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INTERVIEW: "Tea at Home" with Fumi
Q&A: Video Reel
Behind-the Scenes: Scenes from the Story
My Youtube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/TheFromscratchtv
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